Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wing Family From Yesterday's Inbox

From: Raymond Wing (Wing Genealogist)

Subject: Wing Family

I am the Genealogist for the Wing Family of America, Inc. [WFA] I noticed your profile stated you descend from the Wings.
I was able to trace the surnames down to Joseph Large & Deborah Dungan.
You can view what the WFA has on this family online at:
I am definitely interested in learning more about your lineage from this family.

Raymond T. Wing
Genealogist, Wing Family of America, Inc. [WFA]

Wow! Wing Family of America, Inc! ;-)

My Wing family connection goes back to Plymouth Colony in the 17th Century and back to England; but for a while I had my doubts. In 2003 I set about to verify the “harvested” information I had found on this branch of my family tree. The first curiosity I encountered was that my reported ancestor Daniel Wing (b. abt 1616) seemed to have died twice—about four decades apart. Ok, there must really have been two consecutive generations of Daniels. No big deal. Happens all the time. One estate was probated about 1659 and the other in 1698. Well, my ancestress, Deborah Wing was reported to have been born in late 1660 so she would have to be the daughter of the younger Daniel. Right? Stay tuned the fun is only beginning.

Couldn’t find the birth, or life for that matter, for two Daniels who would be old enough. Deborah’s brother, Daniel, was younger than she was. So while he could have had a probate in the 1690s he could not be Deborah’s father.

Another problem. The only Deborah Wing listed in the Sandwich town birth records was born in 1648 and died about a decade later. In addition, Deborah was not listed in the distribution of either estate. I was definitely beginning to doubt my connection. But wait. I was researching this at the Family History Center so there were lots of records to consult from family association newsletters to printed histories as well as the afore mentioned town records.

Turns out Daniel was a Quaker who was not always warmly received in Puritan Plymouth Colony. He only died once physically but he died twice legally. In the 1650s Daniel was constantly being fined for refusing, on religious grounds, to signing various oaths of allegiance. The fines started to mount up to the point where it jeopardized his estate and his ability to support his large family. One of Daniel’s brother’s stepped in and invoked, on Daniel’s behalf, a obscure provision of British law that was a forerunner of our current bankruptcy rules. Daniel’s estate was “probated” and his assets distributed to his children so that their support would not become a burden on the community for their support. Thus, the first “probate” event is accounted for.

It appears that a consequence of this was that Daniel was considered legally dead and essentially a non-person for a time. At least when Deborah was born a year or two later she does not appear to be listed in the meticulous town records where all the other Wing children were listed. Only when I finally found Quaker records of Sandwich births did I find a record of her birth. She was not however included in the second probate process about 4 decades latter. A number of possible reasons are:
1. She had already received a portion of Daniel’s estate;
2. Her stepmother steered the estate to the children of the second marriage;
3. There was a rift between Deborah and her father as the result of her moving to Rhode Island and marrying a Baptist;
4. Daniel had lost track of Deborah since by the time of his death, she and her husband had moved further away and founded the first Baptist church in the state of Pennsylvania.

So much for religious freedom and tolerance in North America.

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